As the election season in New York City gets underway, candidates often seek to stand out of the crowd through policy positions that, they hope, important constituencies will find appealing.
One such example are candidates looking to win votes in Hasidic and ultra-Orthodox communities, who in the name of “religious freedom” have pledged not to enforce minimum educational standards in their schools/Yeshivas.
As Rabbis and Jewish leaders in New York City, we want to make the following clear.
Every child deserves a basic education. To deny that right in the name of religious freedom is unacceptable.
To state the obvious: Our religion does not require that kids be denied a basic education. Including or expanding time spent on secular education does not detract from a robust curriculum of religious studies. Secular education and Judaic studies can coexist—as can be seen in many Jewish day schools, Modern Orthodox yeshivas, and indeed many ultra-Orthodox girls’ schools.
The economic and social consequences of not receiving a basic education are tragically apparent. The barriers faced by those who attended yeshivas that provided little to no secular education are enormous.
Students in Hasidic and ultra-Orthodox yeshivas are as deserving as every other child in New York of a sound basic education that will allow them to reach their full potential.
A basic Jewish tenet is to obey the law of the land, and since 1894, New York State law has mandated that private schools provide an education that is “at least substantially equivalent” to that of public schools.
We ask candidates for public office to support the rights of students to receive a basic education, regardless of the type of school they attend.
|Board President, YAFFED||Anita||Altman|
|Former member New York City Council||ronnie||eldridge|